Tragopogon dubius - Western Salsify
This plant is commonly seen in roadside ditches and on the edges of fields.
As far as I can tell, it is not a major weed problem in cultivated
nursery fields. Therefore, I only include it on this website
The image below demonstrates its typical habit. Plants grow upright
1 to 2 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide.
Foliage is grass-like. Notice in the image below how the plant
seems to blend in with the grass.
Foliage often has a blue-green tint. Leaves are generally more
broad than what would be expected for most grasses.
The image below demonstrates a key identification characteristic. The
cross section of the plant's foliage is triangular, and when torn the plant
emits a milky sap.
Sepals are key identification characteristic for this plant. While
not obvious in the image above, sepals are generally wider than the yellow
Notice the swollen receptacle beneath the flower head below. This
is a characteristic used to distinguish it from T. pratensis.
Flowers are generally only open on the mornings of sunny days, and will
close by noon (don't set your clocks by this phenomena, it's not that predictable).
The generic name Tragopogon is derived from the
Greek language where Tragos means goat and pogon means beard.
Thus Tragopogon, or goat beard, was applied due to the plant's large
feathery seed heads.
Seed heads are dandelion-like, but much larger and tan in color.
Dismantling the seed head reveals the very large and coarse textured seed.
Return to the Weed Species Page
Return to the Weed Management Homepage
Email comments to James